James – Wednesday, March 25
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Here, the tongue is compared to the bits that horses wear, the rudders that turn huge ships at sea, and the small spark that begins a roaring forest fire. A very small thing can create a huge impact.
The tongue is a world of evil, and is set on fire by hell. Poison proceeds from our tongues. Even for the true believer, we have the capacity to bless God with our tongues and then turn around and curse men. We see this in horrible situations like church splits. The tongues of men cause the destruction of entire churches.
The bottom line is this: no one can tame this unruly beast called the tongue. No human can do it, but the Lord has plenty of power for the task. Like a great horseman working with wild stallions, the Lord works in us—by His Spirit—so that we will use our tongues to be a blessing to Him and to others.
Daily Devotional Book • James Application Questions
1. Everyone has horrible personal memories of stupid or very regretful things they’ve said at one time or another. We all stumble in many ways, remember? Be sure to apply the blood of Jesus to any past sins in this area, by faith.
2. Take the time right now to confess any unconfessed sin regarding your speech. If you’ve offended someone specifically, make a point to apologize to him/her as soon as possible (Matthew 5:23-24).
3. Ask the Lord to fill you with His Holy Spirit again today (Ephesians 5:18-21; Galatians 5:16-23). Tonight, make notes on your progress by thinking about your conversations throughout the day. Then start all over again tomorrow!